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View Diary: WA Gov -- curiouser and curiouser (13 comments)

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  •  A nice FAQ from Seattle PI (none)

    Washington's governor's race is still unsettled more than two weeks after Election Day, with Democrat Christine Gregoire and Republican Dino Rossi separated by just a few votes out of 2.8 million cast. Here are some questions and answers about the vote-counting process and when the election might be decided.

    Q: Just what are provisional ballots?

    A: Ballots cast by people who accidentally go to the wrong polling place or otherwise aren't listed on the rolls. Signatures on those ballots are checked against registration records, and if the voter checks out, the ballots get counted.

    Q: What's with all these provisional ballots in King County?

    A: In heavily Democratic King County, Democrats sued successfully for the names of provisional voters whose ballots had been disqualified for non-matching signatures, then spent the weekend tracking down Gregoire voters. On Monday, Democrats turned in signed affidavits from 400 people who affirmed they were legally registered voters who voted only once. Republicans argued that the county shouldn't determine ballots are legitimate based solely on signatures collected by party workers, but a judge ruled for the Democrats and ordered the ballots counted.

    Q: When will the counting stop?

    A: County auditors have until the end of the day today to certify their official results to the secretary of state.

    Q: But will that end the election?

    A: Probably not. If the candidates are separated by fewer than 2,000 votes when the counties certify, state law requires the secretary of state to order a statewide machine recount of all the ballots. If the margin is 150 votes or fewer, a hand recount is required.

    Q: When would that happen?

    A: Secretary of State Sam Reed plans to order a recount immediately if the race is that close after today's certification. The counties would then have three business days -- until Monday -- to start counting.

    Q: How long would a recount take?

    A: Most counties can do it in a day. King County, the state's largest, likely would take four days. So a recount should end by Thanksgiving.

    Q: And will that be it?

    A: Not quite. The secretary of state must certify the winner of the election by Dec. 2. Once he does that, the loser can demand a recount, even if the margin is more than 2,000 votes.

    Q: Again? Who pays for that?

    A: The person demanding the recount has to post money to pay for it -- $420,000 for a machine recount or $700,000 for a hand recount. If the recount changes the winner, the taxpayer gets the tab.

    Q: How long can this go on before there's a winner?

    A: The loser is allowed to request only two recounts.

    Q: Has a recount ever changed an election?

    A: No statewide election has ever been reversed. The biggest swing was 604 votes against Republican Slade Gorton in the 1968 race for attorney general, but Gorton won, anyway.

    Full article at today's Seattle PI

    Susan in Port Angeles (my cat)

    by SusanHu on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 08:57:49 AM PST

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